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Computer Guys & Gal

Brick and mortar retailers fret over "showrooming:" tech-savvy consumers using their smartphones to find the best holiday deals after or while checking out products in person. Facebook banks on "social shopping." Nintendo introduces "asymetric play," a new video game system with a unique user interface. The Computer Guys and Gal are back to explore the new buzzwords of the tech holiday season, and the latest headlines from the digital world.

Computer Guys And Gal Picks

From tablets to apps, the best technology gift ideas of this holiday season. Plus, the hottest tech buzzwords, news and happenings.

Allison Druin

  1. Tablets, tablets, tablets! There's the Nexus line from 7" to 10" that are starting to look as strong as an iPad. Anywhere from $200-ish to $400.

  2. The Tablet King continues with the iPad Mini. It's a heftier price tag, but with a lighter form factor.

  3. Never leave home without it: a USB key.

  4. No need to walk around with glove holes! The tips of your thumbs and forefinger will help make it work on any smartphone or tablet.

  5. Running out of batteries? Who doesn't?iPower Case can give you five hours of battery life and
    makes your iPhone 4 & 4S look good.

  6. Hi-tech flower pots? An electronic smartpot that grows plants without watering and fertilizing.

  7. Compare prices with apps! The latest price-comparison apps are ringing in some new features that will spread holiday cheer.

  8. Hi-Tech puzzles! For a rainy day, this set of old-fashioned 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles contains high-tech surprises.

  9. Don't lose your car in a crowded parking lot this holiday season with the Find My Car app, which remembers the GPS position of your car, hotel or any other location and shows your current position on the map.

  10. E-readers. There's so much to think about with this holiday season and e-reading, with a million flavors of Kindles, Nooks, Sony Readers and more.

John Gilroy

  1. iPad's “brutal impact on Windows desktops,” Apple desktops unscathed.

  2. Dateline: Cupertino, Calif. Headline: Hell freezes over.

  3. Now here’s a dirty secret: $300 phone bills! Consumers spend more on service than gear.

  4. The advent of a new gerund: “showrooming” –- using your smartphone to get the best price.

  5. Google is a mobile-first company (sounds like a “me-too” company”)

  6. All aboard! We got a smart phone, we don’t need no stinkin’ train tickets...

  7. Where will Windows be in a few years? Survey says...

  8. We know desktops are dinosaurs, but laptops, too?

  9. 40 million units sold Windows 8 -- Surface? Did you say Surface? $900, huh?

  10. Not a good sign when HP has to tell consumers not to downgrade new computers.

Bill Harlow

  1. Will the real Microsoft Surface please stand up?

  2. Speaking of artists, sketch on your iPad with more control. The Pogo Connect looks like a lot of the styli that are out for iPad, but this one's different.

  3. Control your fancy DSLR with your smartphone.

  4. Retrode, for the geeky old school gamer.

  5. Stuff the digital stocking with the Humble THQ Bundle.

  6. Keep everything charged on the go

  7. Go paperless. The Doxie One and Doxie Go (battery powered) are slick little portable document scanners.

A few interesting -- and free -- 3-D modeling packages:

  1. A skilled user can get Hollywood caliber results from Blender, for Windows, Mac and Linux. Check out the demo reel on YouTube.

  2. SketchUp 8 for Windows and Mac.

  3. Autodesk 123D Design for Windows, Mac and iPad. This is another good entry level option for people looking to learn how to model objects in 3-D.

  4. Autodesk 123D Sculpt for iPad is a 3-D modeling tool that works like digital clay. You use fingers to sculpt organic shapes on the screen. Even if you're not serious about 3-D, this app is worth checking out.

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